Non-research PG students can no longer bring spouses, other dependents to UK-

Student visas have been that one sure-shot way for Malayalis to get a job, earn big money and raise the financial status of families back home. And over the years, the first choice for these students has been the United Kingdom (UK).

What made the country even more attractive was the facility that allowed students applying for postgraduate courses to get dependent visas. However, with the UK government deciding to stop issuing dependent visas to those applying for postgraduate courses in the various universities in the country from January 2024, the migration dreams of many have been snuffed out, stated a report in The New Indian Express.

According to the UK government website, foreign postgraduate students on non-research courses will no longer be able to bring their spouses or other dependents to the UK on their study visas. The move aims to reduce the number of dependents, including spouses, migrating to the UK.

“This was the one reason that made the UK very attractive to the people from Kerala,” said Denny Thomas, MD, Santa Monica.

Though the visas were issued on the guarantee that the student was financially capable of providing for the dependents, it was a minor issue, he pointed out.

“The facility for part-time work and the stay-back options make the UK, compared to the US, very attractive for those who want to realise their dream of migrating and settling abroad,” he said.

Mohammed Riyas, a Kollam-based education consultant, said even the universities in the UK are very eager to get foreign students and offer scholarships.

“The fees too are less compared to the US,” he said.

Riyas said, as of now, the intake for the next academic year is over.

“The formalities got over by September this year. And those who had applied for the postgraduate courses were also issued dependent visas,” he said.

With the UK market never dull, he expects the demand to remain stable even next year. The reason being that there are people who are genuinely interested in studying in the British universities, Riyas added.

The only ones left out will be those for whom study comes last, pointed out Denny whose consultancy processed applications for around 7,000 candidates from India in 2023.

“They are in the country only to secure a job, and over some time, apply for permanent resident status,” he said.

Another reason why the UK is attractive for those who go on student visas is the conversion rate of the pound.

“A pound gets them Rs 103 as against the Rs 86 for a dollar,” Riyas said.

What the student visa rule says:
The partner and children (‘dependants’) may be able to apply to come to the UK or stay longer in the UK

The applicant must be one of the following:

– A government-sponsored student starting a course that lasts longer than 6 months

– A full-time student on a postgraduate-level course (RQF level 7 or above) that lasts 9 months or longer

If the postgraduate-level course starts on or after January 1, 2024, it must be either:

– A PhD or other doctorate (RQF level 8)

– A research-based higher degree

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